Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
People of the City
by Cyprian Ekwensi, introduction by Emmanuel Iduma
Chinua Achebe was the author of the first book published in the legendary Heinemann African Writers Series that, starting in the 1950s, brought contemporary African literature to the attention of the world. The second was by Cyprian Ekwensi. People of the City, Ekwensi’s early masterpiece, is the tale of Amusa Sango, a young man who travels from the country to a great and crazy city that is not named but might well be taken for Lagos, where he means to make a career as a crime reporter while leading a dance band whose calypsos and konkomas “delight the heart of city women.” Amuso is a man on the make, looking for stories, success, sex, maybe even love, and he finds a lot of what he’s looking for, though whether he can hold on to what he has and get what he wants is another story altogether. Ekwensi’s delicious novel has the swagger, bravado, and elation of the great bands of West Africa.
People of the City tells the story of a young crime reporter who doubles as a bandleader in a large west African city. As one British critic wrote, the novel said more about west Africa than 50 government reports.
—Shola Adenekan, The Guardian
One of the most prolific African writers of the twentieth century.